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Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson #BookReview

Everyone knows a guy like Jared: the burnout kid in high school who sells weed cookies and has a scary mom who’s often wasted and wielding some kind of weapon. Jared does smoke and drink too much, and he does make the best cookies in town, and his mom is a mess, but he’s also a kid who has an immense capacity for compassion and an impulse to watch over people more than twice his age, and he can’t rely on anyone for consistent love and support, except for his flatulent pit bull, Baby Killer (he calls her Baby)–and now she’s dead.

Jared can’t count on his mom to stay sober and stick around to take care of him. He can’t rely on his dad to pay the bills and support his new wife and step-daughter. Jared is only sixteen but feels like he is the one who must stabilize his family’s life, even look out for his elderly neighbours. But he struggles to keep everything afloat…and sometimes he blacks out. And he puzzles over why his maternal grandmother has never liked him, why she says he’s the son of a trickster, that he isn’t human. Mind you, ravens speak to him–even when he’s not stoned.

You think you know Jared, but you don’t.

Title: Son of a Trickster | Author: Eden Robinson |Publisher: Knopf Canada | Pub. Date: 07 February, 2017 | Pages: 319 | ISBN: 9780345810786 | Genre: Fantasy | Source: Self-Purchased | Starred Review

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Son of a Trickster Review

There’s really something to be said about a book that can drop a “fucking cuntosaurus” on the first page then proceed to absolutely smash the reader to bits for 319 pages.

I absolutely LOVED Son of a Trickster. Something about it, which I can’t even quite put my finger on, struck a serious chord with me. Robinson’s writing hooked me from literally the first page. Her humour is dark and wry but never detracts from the emotion of the story. It reads like a coping mechanism, which, in Jared’s hands, is exactly what it is.

Jared is an Indigenous teenager, growing up in Kitimat (northern British Columbia for the non-Canadians in the audience). His parents are divorced, and his mother holds more than a little bit of a grudge towards his father. He’s your typical teenaged burnout – drinking himself stupid, hanging out with the wrong crowd, maybe selling a bit of pot on the side…Except he really isn’t at all your typical anything because there’s just the smallest chance that his biological father might be Wee’git – the Trickster.

I adored Jared completely. I was a little nervous at first since he did seem like a bit of a stereotypical stoner character, but he really wasn’t at all. He’s a compassionate, caring person who happens to be trapped in a bad situation, and it broke my heart more than a little bit. He’s surrounded by damaged people – his mother Maggie deals with substance abuse issues and brings home abusive boyfriends, his girlfriend Sarah has been shipped off by her mother to take care of her ailing grandparents and self-harms to cope, his injured father can’t hold a job long enough to keep a roof over his new family’s head without Jared’s help. All Jared wants is to be able to help the people he loves, but he often finds himself being taken advantage of or abandoned.

The fantasy element is fairly light (in terms of volume, though certainly not in terms of impact!). It plays a larger role as the book goes on, but I wouldn’t say the novel ever veers fully into the fantastical. When it does though, it does so in a no-holds-barred way that I found extremely unsettling and spooky, and I was completely into it. I’m hoping that the fantasy and mythology will play a larger role in the sequel. Though I really appreciated how the Indigenous mythology was applied, I also didn’t feel like the general storyline was lacking without it. This is a very compelling, very human story, and the fantasy elements only serve to elevate that aspect even more.

Son of a Trickster is truly something special. It had me laughing out loud often enough that I barely noticed that it had completely ripped my heart out until it was too late, and my heart was already otter-chow. I know it’s only January (well, February by the time anyone reads this), but I would be shocked if this doesn’t make it onto my “top reads of 2020 list.” It’s just that damn good.

You can find this book at many retailers via clicking on the appropriate link on Goodreads; however, in the spirit of supporting literacy programs, we would like to point out that you may be able to purchase this book through BetterWorldBooks.

Published inFantasy Book ReviewsStarred ReviewsUncategorized

One Comment

  1. The synopsis got me. I’m def adding it to my TBR.

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